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2010 Summer Tour: 'Neath the Palms

Rising senior Mari Oye describes the first day's journey from New Haven to Vero Beach.

Louder yet the chorus raise,
Friendship lasts when youth must fail;
Jolly jolly are the days
'Neath the elms of dear old Yale!

So goes the last verse of 'Neath the Elms, a Yale songbook favorite dating from 1871. This year, the Glee Club is exchanging elms for palms, and will spend twelve days in Florida and the Dominican Republic. Our schedule includes concerts with the national chorus of the Dominican Republic (advertised here), extensive outreach, set up in part through the efforts of the Association of Yale Alumni, and, tomorrow, a chance to see manatees.

I'm writing to you from a deck near the water in Vero Beach, FL. It's hard to believe that around 5:30 this morning we were all huddled amid suitcases (too many), pillows (too few) and boxes of equipment on the steps of Hendrie Hall. A bus ride and a few hours' flight later, we arrived at the airport in Orlando. Starving tenors rushed straight for the local delicacies: Chick-Fil-A and a dozen Krispy Kremes, consumed in no time. I'll fast forward through the next bus ride to Vero Beach, since I spent most of it asleep (along with the rest of the YGC).

I can't get over the fact that we are in the presence of actual palm trees. The Californians among us are homesick. I'm from Massachusetts, and I keep expecting the palms to be of the plastic variety. But no, they're real - and so is the beach, a few steps from the hotel, where we all rushed to wash the travel dust right out of our hair.

Around six, we arrived at the St. Edwards school, where we'll be giving a concert tomorrow, and rehearsed for several hours. The choir at St. Edwards is directed by Daniel Koh, a beloved former assistant director of the Glee Club. At Yale, he somehow acquired the nickname "Kohbra," which YGC seniors are eager to revive down here in Florida.

Favorite moment of the day: YGC director Jeff Douma and a small red and brown lizard face off on a brick wall near our buses.

Song of the day, chosen by tour managers Emily Howell '11 and Molly Perkins '10 for "obvious reasons": "Leaving on a Jet Plane."

Tomorrow: the Manatee Observation Center, or MOC, and concert at St. Edwards School, which has already merited an article in the Hometown News of Vero Beach.

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